THERE are many additional burdens of womanhood, not least among those the assumption that your actions are somehow representative of the entirety of your sex.

A woman can't just have an interesting job, she must be blazing a trail or acting as a role model. It is, as an offshoot of this, a feminist frustration that men in politics are judged against other politicians but women in politics are judged against other women. Sometimes the link is made because of their age - Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin. Occasionally a similarity of circumstance - Nicola Sturgeon and Jacinda Ardern. Sometimes their legs - Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May. Always their sex.

It was quickly highlighted and then oft-repeated that Nicola Sturgeon had only recently said she had "plenty of gas left in the tank" in relation to her tenure as First Minister. She was asked about her energy reserves because Jacinda Ardern, on resigning as prime minister of New Zealand, had referred to not having any gas in the tank.

Ms Sturgeon was asked this question only because Ardern is a woman and so is she.

Similarly, not 12 hours after the First Minister's resignation it had already been asked whether Kate Forbes, one of the mooted replacements for Nicola Sturgeon, is Scotland's Jacinda Ardern. Why? Well, Ms Ardern had a baby while running her country and Ms Forbes is mother to a new baby and step-mother to three children.

Other than that, and both being in their 30s, the two have little in common. But one of the repeated, and fair, points when considering whether Ms Forbes will throw her hat in the ring for the SNP leadership competition is the fact she will be returning from maternity leave and have a young family.

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In her resignation speech, Ms Sturgeon emphasised that this is a job requiring complete round-the-clock dedication, 365 days a year. As a member of the Free Church of Scotland, Kate Forbes prefers not to be disturbed on Sundays, which may necessarily cease to be a day of rest for her.

Is it right, though, or fair to question whether the premiership may or may not be a role for a working mother? Here, it maybe is instructive to look back to Ms Ardern.

When Jacinda Ardern announced her pregnancy in 2018, New Zealand's voters were not automatically welcoming of the idea of an expecting prime minister. Ardern had been asked along the campaign trail what, if any, were her plans for motherhood.

At her election to office she was asked if she had made a choice between motherhood and her career. When pregnant, in response to relentless questions, she pointed out she was "pregnant, not incapacitated".

At her return from maternity leave: "We'll make it work," she said, under questioning about how she would manage. Words to chime with parents everywhere.

Once she was back at her desk, the questions largely stopped and, as she got on with it, everyone else did too.

The consideration, then, becomes one of personal choice. Does a female politician want to juggle high office with motherhood? Either yes or no is fine, it really is an individual decision. It leads, though, to the question of whether a woman can have it all - the much-maligned question asked when Jacinda Ardern stepped down.

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Ms Ardern was clear she wanted to spend more time with her daughter and soon-to-be husband. When the BBC explicitly asked the question "can women have it all?" the response was one of fury. How could a broadcaster be asking such an outmoded question in this progressive day and age? Actually, the question is instructive.

It's a relevant question because female emancipation is not complete. No one was concerned about Boris Johnson's ability to lead when his child was born in office because it was assumed his wife would take on the bulk of the childrearing. Let's not allow ourselves to be distracted by the thought of Mr Johnson's abilities or lack thereof - the point is about the double standard of parenthood.

It is still unusual for fathers to take an even split of parental leave in this country; we lag far behind, say, Scandinavian nations in our expectation of dads' roles in childcare. Women are still disproportionately left with the bulk of the "second shift" - the cooking and household chores done once couples return home from work.

While improvements have been made in state funded childcare on Nicola Sturgeon's watch, provision is far from the wrap-around, affordable care needed to allow women equality in the workplace.

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The gender pay gap, narrowed between young men and women, still widens when women begin to have children. And on and on. We can't avoid the question of whether women can compete equally at work until equality is achieved, which it has not been.

If Ms Forbes does become leader of the SNP it is likely her role as a young mother will be a constant focus and it would be useful to use that focus to examine gender equality rather than rehearse any of the tired assumptions about women's competency when they have children.

Ms Forbes is likely also to face questions about her faith, which are likely to be as enlightening a public discussion as that of motherhood. Some may balk at the notion of someone they perceive to have extreme religious views running an increasingly secular country. There are plenty of politicians of faith whose beliefs go largely unremarked but the concern with Ms Forbes's evangelical position is how that might conflict with issues such as abortion buffer zones, assisted dying, sex workers' rights or gender self-ID.

You can't read an interview with Forbes and not come away with the impression she is a person who thinks deeply about any issues she's involved with, displaying an intellectual liberalism sorely lacking in the current tendency to debate topics as though exchanges of ideas are physical attacks.

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How interesting it will be to see which topics can be met as a matter of individual conscience and which written off an intolerable bigotry. Assisted dying may come under the former while trans rights is likely to be the latter.

It may be the case that Ms Forbes decides not to challenge for the SNP leadership. She once referenced the William Wilberforce quote in an interview about political ambition and how it might be balanced with matters of conscience: "This far and no further."

A ministerial position may be far enough for Ms Forbes, influenced by family and faith, but the possibility of her running gives the chance to consider interesting questions.